Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 20, 2021

"High treason" sign appears on Prague Castle overnight, Babiš says Russia blast not a terrorist act, Czech Republic experiences coldest April on record. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 20.04.2021 09:55:00 (updated on 20.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Protesters light up Prague Castle with "high treason" sign

On Monday night, Prague Castle was illuminated by the inscription "Velezrada" ("high treason" in Czech). The organization Stop High Treason took responsibility for the sign and claimed in a written statement that Czech president Miloš Zeman is an agent of a hostile country. The group is demanding that Zeman be assessed by the Constitutional Court. The police are currently looking for those who installed the sign in order to charge them with a possible misdemeanor. Castle spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said the act is part of the systematic spread of the opposition's lies which include spreading hatred.

Babiš says Russia blast not a terrorist act, Czechs debate next steps

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said that he believes the Vrbětice blast was not an act of state terrorism, but an attack on the goods of a Bulgarian dealer. Opposition leaders have deemed his remarks scandalous, with Leader of TOP 09, Markéta Pekarová Adamová demanding the PM's resignation. Currently, investigators are working with the theory that ammunition designated for transport to Bulgaria was targeted by the attack. "Above all, I would like to say that this was not an act of state terrorism as we have heard," Babiš said. Russia did not attack the Czech Republic, but the goods of a Bulgarian arms dealer, he added. Leader of the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), Marian Jurečka, said Babiš could not possibly mean this statement. The Czech government, which was taken aback by the Russian response, particularly the expulsion of the deputy Czech ambassador by Moscow, will continue to discuss further steps for the Czech Republic this week.

No flu cases recorded during 2020-2021 season in the Czech Republic

Laboratories in the Czech Republic didn't record a single case of the flu virus last season according to research from the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ). The reduction in the transmission of respiratory viruses was mainly influenced by the anti-epidemic measures taken due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last season, experts reported about 300 serious cases of influenza infection, in which patients had to be hospitalized in the intensive care unit. Of these, 58 succumbed to the infection. A similar trend has been seen throughout the whole of Europe last season. Until the fourteenth week of this year, according to experts, only about 800 flu samples were taken. Nearly 11 percent of the Czech population, or about 1.15 million people, saw a doctor because they had flu or a cold in the 2019-20 season.

Czechs to send Covid aid to Ukraine

The Czech Republic will donate 192,000 face masks and 129,000 tests to combat Covid-19 to Ukraine, the government said Wednesday. Ukraine asked for assistance via NATO, the Interior Ministry said. Support will be sent from the State Material Reserves Administration in a value of an estimated about CKZ 14.2 million. The new face masks will not be bought because the reserves in the SSHR are sufficient. "Moreover, the rapid tests, already replaced with more efficient antigen tests, will not be bought for the SSHR," the ministry said. Ukraine will receive 66,000 pieces of rapid Vidia tests and 62,995 rapid Edinburgh tests. The material will be delivered to Ukraine by firefighters.

Czech Republic experiencing coldest April since 1941

Until the end of April, temperatures in the Czech Republic will be significantly below average. According to meteorologists from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI), this April will likely end being one of the coldest on record since 1941. The whole period from April 19 to May 16 should be below the average temperature in the Czech Republic. "Significantly cold weather is expected until the end of April, at the beginning of May temperatures will rise, but they are likely to remain at intervals slightly below average or normal values ​​for the given time of year," said the CHMI. This week it should be warmest on Tuesday and Wednesday, when temps could shoot up to 16 degrees Celsius, in the Czech Republic; on Wednesday as high as 18 degrees Celsius. The weekend temperatures, however, could drop to around ten degrees.

Czech truffles declared "winner" of climate change

Research published by Scientific Reports found that the appearance of truffles—fungi with intense, earthy flavors served which often sell for hundreds of dollars per kilogram—is likely to increase in the Czech Republic due to climate change. Favorable conditions for growing Tuber melanosporum (commonly called the Périgord truffle),  including temperature, precipitation, elevation, and soil pH are expected to expand throughout the Central Europe region by 2050.

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